Google SEO changes just part of The Relationship Era
Quite often recently, I’ve been asked why Google has been making such drastic changes to its search engine algorithm.
Through the recent Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird updates, Google has made it much harder for websites to rank in search strictly through keywords and good content. Now, links and social shares are the coin of the realm.
I don’t think Google has made these changes with any explicit benefit to them. While they do give some SEO weight to the sagging G+, it is not really enough to benefit Google or the platform in any meaningful way.
Instead, I see this as Google’s attempt to bring search results fully into The Relationship Era – a term for our modern state of marketing coined by Bob Garfield and Doug Levy in their 2013 book “Can’t Buy Me Like.”
In the book, Levy and Garfield note that in this new age of marketing, “Your success or failure depends not on what you say, nor even on what you produce, but increasingly on who you are.” And “who you are” is now determined by the customer and the court of public opinion.
Good Content is Not Enough for Good SEO
Google’s updates attempt to bring this sensibility to search. Now it’s not enough to have good content, or what you think is good content. The content has to be validated by public opinion, and Google has chosen links back to your content as a measure of that public opinion.
The more links to your site, the more “relevant” Google sees you site. Furthermore, the more links your site gets from other highly relevant sites, the better it reflects on your site.
There are major brands getting KILLED in search results right now because they don’t have quality links back to their site. Some of these brands deserve it because they don’t have good content on their sites and they aren’t worth linking to.
Others have quality content, but nobody is linking to it. This is an outreach problem. It’s not enough to put good content on your site anymore, even if the content is SEO optimized. Now you have to build relationships – after all we are in The Relationship Era.
I guess a better way to say it is, brands can’t say, we’re Sears or Bud Light and people will just link to us because we are a household name. It doesn’t work that way anymore.
That means it’s time to start reaching out through every avenue possible. Make connections with bloggers and journalists in your industry. Use your social media outlets. Do whatever you can to get your content shared and linked to.
In The Relationship Era, wallflowers will be left out of the action. Stop your passivity, start building relationships, get your content out there and start building links to your content. Your online future depends on it.